“Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God,for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan” (Ephesians 1:11, NLT).

It’s amazing how much controversy can come out of five little words, but that’s what has happened with the phrase, “he chose us in advance.” I’m not going to get into it here, except to quote author Donald Fairbairn in Life in the Trinity, page 197: “I suggest that it is inappropriate to think in sequential terms about concepts that do not pertain to time.” He suggests “relating predestination, foreknowledge and free human actions to one another” is not a simple black and white issue, rather part of “God’s eternal decision to honor his own relationship with his beloved Son and his Spirit by bringing people into that relationship” (page 198).

As with other deep things of God, we don’t know the details and should probably stay away from dogmatic statements, but there is one thing we do know: his plan will succeed. The great I AM, who created the heavens and the earth and breathed his Spirit into us who are made in his image, will not fail in his grand design of redemption for humankind. He has already made it happen in Christ and nothing will prevent, thwart or frustrate what he has accomplished in his beloved Son.